At least one is dead, and others are injured after a large tree falls on a wedding party in Whittier, KTLA 5 reports.
Firefighters were called to a Whittier park around 4:45 p.m. following a report of a large tree that had fallen and landed on some people, who were attending a wedding party.
Further, it was revealed that the tree had split into two pieces, crushing multiple people. The 100-foot tall eucalyptus tree fell as people from the wedding were taking pictures, NBC Los Angeles revealed.
Woman killed as 100-foot tree falls on California bridal party during group photo https://t.co/4UCgP0pCcJ— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) December 18, 2016
Firefighters helped free the trapped people by cutting the tree with chainsaws, but unfortunately, one person was pronounced dead, and others were injured.
People were being treated at the scene, but the extent of their injuries was not mentioned. A search dog also cleared the area, searching for more trapped people.
The remainder of the wedding party attendees were taken to a senior center to allow them access to mental health workers. It has not yet been revealed what caused the tree to fall. Officials are wondering if the heavy rainfall had anything to do with it, but further investigation is required to truly determine the cause.
It was revealed that a birthday party was also taking place nearby when the tree fell, CNN reports. Witness Gilbert Duran mentioned on Facebook that he was attending the birthday party when the tree fell. Further, he mentioned that he was with some friends taking pictures by the tree just before it fell, but decided to move to better location due to the bad lighting.
“We walk away and five minutes later this thing collapses on a whole wedding party. I just seen a bunch of kids, little kids… they were running for their life and this thing just fell on top of them. I watched them go flat.”
As far as the injuries go, a fire official told reporters that the majority were minor injuries, and one had moderate injuries. An updated report from KTLA 5 revealed that one of the victims was a 4-year-old with a head injury, who is said to be in critical condition.
Rene Zaldivar, a witness of this tragedy, said he noticed the bride immediately after the tree fell.
“She was limping a little bit, but she was screaming about her mom – they couldn’t wake her up.”
One victim, an older woman, was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.
John Tripp, a Los Angeles County Fire Department deputy chief, spoke at a news conference about the incident.
“Fortunately, there weren’t more people injured by the tree collapse. It could have been a lot worse.”
Mary Escarga, another witness, spoke to reporters.
“I heard the crackling and I’m looking up and it was just an odd sound.”
Another witness, Anahi Vazquez, was taking pictures when the tree fell.
“We just heard something crack, like, really hard, and people were yelling.”
Vazquez said that she could see a little girl trapped under the tree, and her uncle was trying desperately to get her out.
Tripp revealed that the department is trying to do as much as they can to support the victims.
“They were here for a joyous occasion and then, unfortunately, a very large tree interrupted that. They right now are going through a lot of issues that we are trying to support.”
Officials have revealed that the trees in the area are not known for collapsing. A heavy rainfall swept the area on Friday, but before that, the area was in a drought.
As the investigation continues, the Inquisitr will keep updating this story. Arborists are supposed to be on the scene investigating why the tree fell. The park has been closed until the investigation is complete.
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